EDITOR’S BLOG: The Goyas & the Vicissitudes of the VAT

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The 29th Goya Gala was special. It opened with thirty actors singing ‘Resistiré,’ the battle hymn of  those who just won’t give up the fight

 

 By Rose Maramba

Goya trophy in monumental dimensions

Goya trophy in monumental dimensions

The world may not know about the Goya Awards, certainly not as much as it would about the Oscars and even the Baftas and the Cesars. But it’s what the Spaniards have for the accomplishments of their films and as such are quite important, specially this year, a bumper year, when those films drew bigger crowds than, say, the American movies. So last 7 February when the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain awarded the Goyas, the 29th annual gala held at the Centro de Congresos Principe Felipe, Madrid, was somehow more special than previous editions.

Local films play a significant role in keeping a country’s identity alive. And as veteran actress Loles Leon said on TV right alter the gala, “a country without its own films, without culture, is an invisible country.”

goya awards 2015 loles-leon-

“A country without its own films is an invisible country”

Apparently Leon was echoing the general sentiment at the gala. It is said that the militancy that spiced up the Goya gala was not something the Academy adopted on purpose – that somehow it came off unbidden and spontaneously. Is that so? The gala opened with some thirty actors led by political activist singer-actress Ana Belen of the first water singing “Resistiré,” a Spanish version of Gloria Gaynor’s chart-busting “I Will Survive” and the battle hymn of those who just won’t give up the fight.

The chorus received an uproarious standing ovation which set the mood of the evening.

Resistiré para seguir viviendo (I will hold out in order to go on living)” goes a line of the song, in clear allusion to the 21% VAT slapped by the government on movie tickets – too much for a struggling industry faced with ferocious competition from foreign movies, specially considering that France, Spain’s closest competitor, along with the United States, levies a mere 5.5%. Germany, 7%.

Actors' rendition of "Resisteiré" led by Ana Belen in lavender

Actors’ rendition of “Resistiré” led by Ana Belen, in lavender

Prestigious director-producer Pedro Almodovar, who presented the Goya trophy for Honorary Award to actor-producer Antonio Banderas, said, “Good evening friends of culture and the movie.” Then addressing the Minister of Culture directly, he added, “Mr. Wert, you’re not included among these [friends].”

However, the Goya Awards night was meant to be a happy event and the MC, actor Dani Rovira, himself the awardee of the Goya for Most Promising Actor, after asking if he could call the minister by his nickname, said: “Take that frown off your face, Nacho. Enjoy the night. That’s what you’re here for.” Meaning he had seen the last of the unfriendly darts.

Minister of culture Ignacio "Nacho" Wert, now with a smile on his face

Minister of Culture Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Wert, with a smile on his face

It was a proud night for the folks in the movie industry who have been on the receiving end of unkind remarks that they are lazy parasites who feed on state subsidy. Rovira could not help telling the audience that “this time the industry has saved the state” on account of the fact that the sector has paid more taxes than the amount of aid received from the public treasury. Rovira cheered: “¡Que vivan los espectadores y viva el cine español!

Perhaps more than many other editions of the Goya Awards, the 2015 had much of the political. Which shouldn’t be surprising considering that it’s a year of life-changing local and general elections in Spain. Candidates who wouldn’t pass up a free prime time publicity in a glamorous setting came to the show. The tall and handsome Socialist candidate for presidency Pedro Sanchez made an appearance that not a few said was more like that of a male lead than a credible politician even though he took advantage of the opportunity and promised to lower the VAT on film to 5%. The presence of center right UPyD candidates Rosa Diez and Toni Canto, former Socialist minister and currently Mayor of Zaragoza Juan Antonio Belloch, and Communist leader (Izquierda Unida) Cayo Lara were similarly motivated.

MS Dani Rovira knells Penelope Cruz during the gala show. Best actress Barbara Lennie looks on. (RTVE)

MC Dani Rovira kneels before Penelope Cruz during the show. Best actress Barbara Lennie, in white,  looks on.

But the gala was first and foremost a film awards event. La Isla Minima, directed by Alberto Gutierrez, was the runaway winner with 17 nominations and ten wins.

Nerea Baros, Most Promising Actress, overcome with unfeigned emotion

Nerea Baros, Most Promising Actress, overcome with unfeigned emotion

 

 

 

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WINNERS (partial list)

GOYA AWARDS 2015 Isla Minima
Best Film: La Isla Minima
Best Director: Alberto Rodriguez (Isla Minima)
Best Actor: Javier Gutierrez (Isla Minima)
Best Actress: Barbara Lennie (Magical Girl)
Best Supporting Actor: Karra Elejalde (Ocho Apellidos Vascos)
Best Supporting Actress: Carmen Machi (Ocho Apellidos Vascos)
Most Promising Actor: Dani Rovira (Ocho Apellidos Vascos)
Most Promising Actress: Nerea Baros (Isla Minima)
Best European Film: Ida (Polish, Pawel Pawlikovki)
Best Latin American film: Relatos Salvajes (Argentine, Damian Szifron)
Honorary Award: Antonio Banderas

 

 

 

Musical part of the gala showcasing of Spanish songs. “Resisteré” is on minute 5.50 of the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywQ6HH-Zxzg